In Toronto, Dr. Shaf Keshavjee has spent years trying to solve the problem of geography and transplants. He is the surgeon-in-chief of the Toronto Lung Transplant Program, considered one of the top programs of its kind in the world.
He developed the Ex Vivo Lung Perfusion System (EVLP). The machine looks like an incubator; it holds lungs and keeps them alive between the time of donation and transplant.
Lungs are the most fragile organs, and they were the last of the major organs to be transplanted successfully, Keshavjee points out. Historically, he says, only one in five donations could be used. The remaining lungs were rejected due to infection or other issues.
The new technology has allowed doctors to make major gains, opening the door for them to transplant lungs that were once thought to be unusable.
The EVLP supports lungs while they are tested to make sure they’re viable. While outside the body, doctors can even deliver drugs to the organ and treat it for diseases.
Last year, the Toronto team successfully transplanted lungs that had been infected with hepatitis C into 10 patients, who were also put on medication regimes.
Learn more about this incredible invention by Dr. Keshavjee at the source: